I discovered during my visit that it’s really important to note that it’s more a coffee shop than a crepe restaurant. Still, I expected it to be a little more … French, I guess? The crepes — though fairly authentic, based on my memory of crepes in Paris — are more a vessel for other food than the star of the plate. What's served is basically sandwiches on crepes instead of bread. The menu is rather large; there are breakfast, savory, sweet or build-your-own options, but none are even vaguely reminiscent of a French crepe. Italian, Thai, and even Bacon Cheeseburger are all on the menu, but no Suzette. The closest to authentic is the Florentine on the breakfast menu.
Still, that’s not really a problem. There was one vegetarian option on the menu (aside from a build your own), but the Field of Greens (lettuce, red peppers, onions, tomato, mozzarella, basil aioli) just didn’t sound very appealing. I suppose I just expected something a little more inventive for vegetarian options. Or more French. Such as brie, apples and arugula, or maybe some roasted seasonal vegetables. Even a “Mediterranean style” with artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives and feta would sem a little more interesting.
And definitely more cheese options with the build your own (gruyere, feta and goat cheese, perhaps) would help. I got just a basic cheese crepe (which had Monterey jack cheese as the base, which seems odd to me,) and it was good, but it didn’t take long to eat it and I was still hungry afterward. Tasty, but not satisfying.
Also, the crepes and their fillings are made to order, so it takes a while to get your food. That is very French. Though there was no one ahead of us, it took about 20 minutes to get our crepes. Not a problem if you’re leisurely enjoying a cup of coffee, but notsomuch if you’re already bordering on hangry by the time you arrive. That's not a criticism; it's just worth noting. I certainly don’t have a problem with a place that makes food to order.
All that said, my husband got the Thai crepe and loved it. It was huge and filling. And though the dessert crepes aren’t particularly authentic, they do look very tasty. Several people I know are regular customers and really enjoy the coffee and the food. And The Red Bicycle also offers gluten-free crepes for a small upcharge, which is pretty remarkable. As for beverages, they serve tea and smoothies in addition to coffee and offer flavor shots as well. Surprisingly, I didn’t see French or Italian sodas on the menu, though.
So, I think as long as you’ve managed your expectations, The Red Bicycle is worth checking out. It’s a cute little place and certainly seems a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Just be sure to check out the menu on their Facebook page (in the photos) before you go, which is clearly something I should have done.
The Red Bicycle
1200 Fifth Ave. N. (next to Germantown Café)
Monday-Friday: 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
It's a phenomenon Carrington Fox noticed when she reviewed Pour House in February:
A quick architectural tour of the city's slew of new restaurants gives the impression there is greater affection for old weathered barns than there ever was for farming itself, even in the agriculture heyday of the region. Seriously, where is all this reclaimed barnwood coming from?
Don't get me wrong. Some of my favorite restaurants in town feature reclaimed barnwood. And besides looking nice, it has advantageous acoustical properties — plus recycling materials is good for the environment. But as Carrington asks, where is all this barnwood coming from?
Sure, I've driven by quite a few dilapidated barns in my 15 years in Tennessee, but how many can there be? And when they're gone, what next? Will we have masked commandos swooping in under cover of night, removing weathered wood from still functioning barns, like ivory poachers killing elephants for their tusks?
And is it important that this is locally sourced barnwood? What if it's from Missouri? North Dakota? Does anyone know if this barnwood is organic, for crying out loud? Is there a barnwood verification organization? Maybe that reclaimed barnwood you're looking at is actually reclaimed toolshed wood. Or even house wood. How would you know? Wouldn't you feel deceived?
Stop the madness! I beseech you!
Have y'all had enough of it? (Notice how I said, "y'all," the linguistic equivalent of reclaimed barnwood for providing a quaint rural touch.)
Anyone else ready for some sleek modern design? And this is the Open Thread, folks: What else is up there in your mental hayloft?
Of course, there's no guarantee that E Hur Wei will be open on Dec. 25, or even still be in business by then — especially if the wrinkles don't get ironed out and the crowds don't start showing up. But assuming Tang & Co. get the kinks worked out and start consistently offering the cuisine and service they are capable of, E Hur Wei could be a favorite casual dining spot, at the holidays and throughout the year.
Have you had a chance to check out the new Bellevue locale? Let us know below.
His son, Barry Pelts, said his father died suddenly of a heart attack Wednesday night.
Corky's locations are found in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. The Nashville area has one Corky's outpost, at 100 Franklin Road near Old Hickory Boulevard in Brentwood.
Pelts had already been in the Memphis barbecue business for 13 years when he opened the first Corky's in 1984, the company website recounts. In addition to the bricks-and-mortar restaurants, Corky's does catering and sells products online.
Corky's doesn't get tons of critical notice in Nashville (locally born places get most of the attention), but Corky's Brentwood location shows up frequently in the Best of Nashville Readers' Poll.
In February, Corky's in Memphis topped a National Geographic list of the 10 best barbecue joints in America.
Although the store has already opened, the official ribbon-cutting will be this Saturday, May 18, with free samples and giveaways scheduled all day long. You can even get your picture taken with the Goo Goo girls. (I mean they're very cute and all, but they're no Hardees maids ... )
Fontanel has become even more of a destination of late with the addition of the Woods Amphitheater, The Studio Gallery performance venue, zip lines, a disc golf course and the soon-to-be opened Prichard's Distillery. If you haven't made your way up north of town yet for a visit, now might be a perfect time. You won't even have to pack a lunch!
The prix fixe menu is subject to change. Last night's edition featured a choice of two starter salads, three entrées and two desserts. We tried one of each salad — mixed greens and frisée aux lardons. The greens were good, but the frisée was wonderful, with a sous vide poached egg and divine lardons of house-cured bacon.
For her entrée, Wendy had poisson en papillote, aka fish in parchment paper. This rendition featured wild-caught Atlantic cod with tomato fondue, white wine and mushroom duxelle. As our server cut open the parchment, a lovely aromatic cloud puffed out. The fish was light and flaky, the accompanying vegetables simple but tasty.
This year's Nourish dinner will be held at the Nashville Farmers' Market on Tuesday, June 18, starting at 6 p.m. Out-of-town chefs Hugh Acheson from Five and Ten in Athens, Ga., and Empire State South in Atlanta (and Top Chef judging fame) and Rob Newton of Seersucker in Brooklyn will be joined by a host of Nashville favorites. The home team includes Phil Krajeck (Rolf and Daughters), Matt Bolus (some new venture that we haven't been able to pry out of him yet despite liberal application of pressure and whiskey), Megan Williams (Etch), Hal Holden-Bache (Lockeland Table) and Karl Worley (Biscuit Love Truck). Together they will plan and execute a fantastic evening of food and wine that should be a whole lot of fun. One of the highlights from last year came when several of the visiting chefs chowed down on Nashville hot chicken after the dinner service, much to chagrin of several of them.
If you're interested in attending, more information (including a special patrons' event at the Bluebird Cafe) and tickets are available here. Don't dawdle because this will sell out!
A couple of years back I told you about Angel's Envy, a premium bourbon produced by Louisville Distilling Co., the team of master mixers put together by Lincoln Henderson. You may know him as the man who basically invented Gentleman Jack and Woodford Reserve during his long career at Brown Foreman. His new company specializes in taking good whiskey and making it great by blending it and finishing it in creative and innovative ways. The original Angel's Envy benefits from a final repose in port barrels to offer a complexity not found in most bourbons that haven't been stashed away for two decades in a warehouse.
His latest creation is Angel's Envy Rye, a truly special spirit that deserves a spot in the front of your liquor cabinet. Lincoln chose a mix of locally sourced 95 percent rye and 5 percent malted barley to create the base spirit. After six years in new charred oak barrels, the whiskey has been finished in Caribbean rum casks. These particular barrels began their careers as small French cognac casks, so the combination offers some unique flavors and characteristics that just aren't present in your average whiskey barrels. The Angel's Envy team sourced and sampled more than 100 different rums to choose the exact one they thought contributed just the right richness to their rye whiskey. (And you thought I had the best job in the world ...)
But man, it is hard. I decided one day to try it and only made it until noon. I had oatmeal for breakfast instead of my usual toast, but I caved and had a veggie burger on a wheat bun for lunch. I was lamenting the lack of gluten-free bun options on Twitter when Twin Forks Farm alerted me to this post on Bon Appetit’s The Feed blog about one of the theories on why gluten intolerance is on the rise.
One theory about gluten intolerance focuses on the type of wheat used to make the flour for the bread products we eat these days. Most wheat that’s grown now has been hybridized to get a grain that’s heartier and easier to grow. It’s also got more gluten in it as well; gluten helps dough rise and gives it texture. The theory — which is related, really — in the blog post has to do with most commercial breads being quick-rise. That is, they’re ready to go in three hours or less rather than fermenting for 18 hours or more. The longer fermentation with the yeast yields a more easily digestible bread. Sourdoughs are even easier to digest. These breads still aren’t suitable for people who are completely intolerant, but these breads may be a better choice for those who are just sensitive to gluten.
I also thought about the scientist who said that years of eating these overly processed breads may be causing our guts to reject them. I grew up eating mostly white bread and don’t have a sensitivity to it now (I don’t think), but it does give me some pause when considering what I feed my daughter. The kid loves bread. I figure, the least I could do is give her bread that’s not bad for her and instead, give her bread that’s actually good for her. So I took a look at Twin Forks.
I was already familiar with Twin Forks Farm bread, actually. Several years ago, Carrington Fox wrote about it here on Bites. I’ve tried it and bought it at the farmers market. But I hadn’t given it much thought for a while. A look at their website intrigued me now, though. They use heirloom organic grains (no Frankengrains) as well as slow fermentation methods for their breads. It’s clear from the descriptions of their breads that they’ve put a lot of thought and energy into these recipes.
So I headed over to The Produce Place to pick up a loaf. It was the end of the day, so only the Pain au Levain and the Expedition were left on the shelf, so I chose the Expedition. At $5 per loaf, it’s not cheap, but it sure is good. So good, in fact that the kid and I both devoured a piece cut right off the loaf without toasting or topping. And though the loaf is small, it’s hearty, so it doesn’t take much of it to satisfy. I’ve started putting it in her lunch for school instead of the crackers I used to send, and she really enjoys it. I hope she remembers this many years from now when she is (I hope) still able to eat wheat … and is the one making the decisions about what I’m eating.
Also part of the team is chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto restaurant in New York (and Season 2 of Top Chef Masters), who became friends with the Followills. He helped hatch the plan to make the festival a showcase both local chefs and nationally known culinary figures (his buddies, as he puts it). It adds up to a couple dozen chefs, a pretty impressive lineup.
Locals include Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of The Catbird Seat; Carey Bringle of The Peg Leg Porker; Matt Farley of The Southern; Sarah Gavigan of Otaku South; Joseph Lenn of The Barn at Blackberry Farm; Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que; Deb Paquette of Etch; Giovanni Pinato of Giovanni Ristorante; Barclay Stratton of Merchants; and Tandy Wilson of City House, who hosted yesterday's festival announcement.
Besides Waxman, the out-of-town guns include John Besh; Tom Colicchio; Giada De Laurentiis; Mike Lata; Edward Lee; Tim Love; Aaron Sanchez; Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo; Nancy Silverton; Michael Symon; and Trisha Yearwood (who in addition to being a country star has authored best-selling cookbooks and has a show on Food Network).
Check out the video above, in which Waxman talks about how impressed he is by Nashville's restaurants and food community: "The current scene is just blossoming like crazy. And it's not repetitive, which is really nice. You don't have everybody doing the same menu." He adds that the Nashville scene keeps getting better, "and I think the festival will help with that expansion, create more of a broader platform."
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